Tag Archives: baby boomers

Donald Trump is a hypocritical dick, but John McCain indeed is no war hero

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1973, file phot, John McCain is greeted by President Richard Nixon, left, in Washington. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized Sen. John McCain's military record at a conservative forum Saturday, saying the party's 2008 nominee and former prisoner of war was a

Associated Press photo

An ambitious John “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran” McCain shakes the hand of President Richard Nixon in 1973, not too long after his having been held as a POW in Vietnam. The warhawk McCain shamelessly has used his POW status for political and personal gain ever since, and there probably isn’t a nation on the globe he thinks the U.S. military shouldn’t bomb.

Repugnican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona indeed is no war hero, but not for the reason that Repugnican presidential aspirant Donald “The Mouth” Trump infamously recently cited.

At an event in Iowa yesterday, Trump declared of McCain: “”He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

The left-leaning Margaret Cho similarly quipped in 2008, when McCain was running for the White House: “I am not voting for McCain. I hope that is obvious. I am sick of everyone saying, ‘He was a good soldier. He was a good soldier.’ Um, yeah. He was captured. So he was not that good!”

(I don’t recall Cho’s comment as having created a shit storm then. Of course, she wasn’t running for president…)

To me, if the war was unjust, as the Vietnam War was, it’s difficult to call anyone who participated in it on the American side a “war hero.” How does something just and heroic emerge from something that was inherently unjust and unheroic?

Only perhaps if someone was drafted — forced into — fighting in an unjust war that he or she had recognized as unjust (which was not the case with McCain in the Vietnam War) might we be able to call his or her brave actions during that war “heroic,” but the war itself still remains unjust.

But with John McCain, it goes further than that. I lived in Arizona from my birth in 1968 to my overdue departure from the state in 1998, and I recall McCain’s television ads for his U.S. Senate bids. It was POW, POW, POW, POW, POW, POW. It was POW 24/7, all POW, all the time. (McCain, whose U.S. Navy plane was shot down over Vietnam in 1967, was captured and kept as a POW for five years.)

Clearly, the message was that you were to vote for McCain — or you hate POWs. (You hate freedom! You love Commies!)

I was shocked that McCain didn’t exploit the POW thing much, much more than he did when he ran for the White House in 2008. Maybe he wanted to and his advisers advised him to cool it, since it is unseemly to exploit one’s POW status for political and personal gain.

Those who are rushing to defend McCain against Trump right now are simply sheeple who can’t worship the U.S. military enough, despite the fact that the bloated-bey0nd-belief military-corporate complex has sucked up our national resources and is killing us like stage-four cancer and has caused untold suffering to millions and millions of innocent people abroad.

(Um, yeah, the U.S. military exists primarily to enforce the existing global socioeconomic status quo, in which Americans continue to enjoy a quality of life that is crazy-better than the quality of life of the planet’s average human inhabitant, and that comes at the average human inhabitants’ expense. “Spreading democracy” — riiiiggghhhht!)

That said, of course baby boomer Trump, who, like his fellow Repugnican baby-boomer chickenhawks George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and many others of that demographic), avoided the Vietnam War, so for him to be criticizing McCain’s performance in the Vietnam War is beyond hypocritical.

But I still say that McCain is no war hero, as not only was the war he voluntarily fought in unjust — Vietnam never had posed a real threat to the United States, and estimates of the number of people who died because of the war (the vast majority of them Vietnamese, of course) range from 1.5 million to 3.6 million, of which the hundreds of Vietnamese civilians slaughtered by mass-murderous U.S. troops in the My Lai Massacre of 1968 were only a tiny fraction — but also as that true war heroes don’t boast about their (supposed) war heroism for personal and political gain.

John McCain, whose almost-30-year Senate record has been unremarkable, for years has benefited from the fact that it’s taboo to openly disagree with or to show anything other than worshipfulness for a former POW. Had McCain never been a POW (which obviously was no accomplishment) and then shamelessly exploited it, I seriously doubt that he’d be where he is now. That’s some sick shit.

Still, it’s great to watch the infighting within the Repugnican Tea Party. “Clown car” is overused but it’s quite an apt description.

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(50 million to) 80 million Americans vanish without a trace!

Generational Leapfrog

An August 2000 editorial cartoon by progressive Gen Xer Ted Rall. (Another, even earlier toon by Rall on this topic is here.)

When I saw a little while ago that the new book The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown, which I (probably stupidly) since bought via amazon.com (I just opened the package today), very apparently pretends that those of us of Generation X don’t even fucking exist, I thought of my fellow progressive Gen Xer Ted Rall and his quite correct labeling of us Xers as victims of “generational leapfrog.”

Prompted by what I had read of The Next America on amazon.com, I was going to blog on my thoughts on my generation’s exclusion from the national discussion as though Winston Smith, working at the Ministry of Truth, had simply erased all mention of us, but now, I see, Rall (thankfully) has written a column on the topic, so, at the risk of violating copyright law, I am posting Rall’s column in full at the end of this post (I don’t think that he would mind), because he echoes my thoughts and feelings.

Not only does the title of this latest book about generations of Americans, which sits at No. 239 on amazon.com as I compose this sentence, exclude my generation entirely, but in the preface of the book — in which the author (shockingly!) identifies himself as a baby boomer — my generation is ignored. In the preface, the baby-boomer author, one Paul Taylor, proclaims:

… This book … pays particular attention to our two outsize generations — the Baby Boomers, fifty- and sixty-somethings having trouble coming to terms with getting old, and the Millennials, twenty-somethings having trouble finding the road map to adulthood. It looks at their competing interests in the big showdown over entitlement reform that our politicians, much as they might try, won’t be able to put off for much longer. …

So why has baby boomer (yeah, I don’t capitalize the term, since that might imply respect, which in this case is undeserved) Taylor disappeared (as Ted Rall accurately put it in his latest column) my entire generation?

And let me first interrupt myself to tell you that my generation actually isn’t all that tiny, with an estimated more than 80 million Americans being Xers, for fuck’s sake, while the figure for the number of baby boomers who were born apparently is around 76 million, and it is estimated that about 80 million Americans are members of Generation Y (a.k.a. Millennials).

Yes, there was a baby boom when the boomers were belched from the bowels of hell and into the world from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s (yes, Barack Obama is a [late] baby boomer; we’ve yet to have a Gen-X president [and we very well might not ever have one]), but American population (despite advances in birth control) has climbed steadily since the boomers made their unfortunate entrance, which, I surmise, would explain why all three generations actually have been roughly the same in size, despite Taylor’s assertion that only his generation and the Millennials are worth discussing because they are “outsize.”

(The cover of the book says that it is authored by “Paul Taylor and the Pew Research Center.” Wow. You’d think the folks at the Pew Research Center would have caught the mistake or even the lie that we Gen Xers are so tiny a cohort that we’re not worth discussing. Seriously — this “oversight” has harmed Pew Research Center’s reputation, in my mind.)

Back to what I was saying: So why would baby boomer Paul Taylor exclude my generation almost entirely from his book that is supposed to be a part of the national discussion?

Well, of course it’s easier to discuss only two generations instead of three. So yes, some laziness definitely might have been involved.

But the larger part of it, I believe, is that the baby boomers in general — and we very apparently cannot exclude Taylor from that cohort, based not only upon his age but also based upon his brand of inter-generational politics — long have treated us Xers as though we didn’t exist.

Indeed, one of Ted Rall’s most successful books is his 1998 Revenge of the Latchkey Kids, one of the first, if not the first, Gen-X manifesto.

I was born to boomers and I certainly was a latchkey kid. I won’t go into detail that only will make others (especially boomers) accuse me of being a whiner who blames everything on his parents (for the record, I blame much on them, but not everything on them), but yeah, while the boomers were the cherished children of the American men who had survived World War II and come home to inseminate their wives and while the Millennials were the cherished children (largely if not mostly of boomers) replete with “Baby on Board” signs, we X’ers were, to put it mildly, not cherished. There were no “Baby on Board” signs, no car seats for us. Our parents were not, for the very most part, “helicopter parents.” No, they were more like invisible parents. As Rall stated correctly many years ago, we Xers, overall, were latchkey kids. We were largely left to raise ourselves.

I suspect that this is why we are ignored by the dominant generation, the boomers (almost all seats of power in the U.S. still are filled by boomers, who hold on to their seats of power with death grips, like U.S. Supreme Court justices): they always have ignored us, so why begin to acknowledge our inconvenient existence now?

Also, if any of the boomers are actually even capable of feeling anything remotely like guilt, maybe they have at least a dim awareness that they failed us Xers, their children, miserably, that they are the first generation in the history of the United States to have had it better themselves than their children have had it, and therefore, in order to avoid feeling guilty — because boomers were raised by the so-called “greatest generation” to believe that they are entitled to feel only great about themselves all of the fucking time (a “value” that the boomers seemed to have imparted to many if not most of the Millennials) — they do their best not to think about us Xers at all.

All of my legitimate generational grievances aside, there is no way that you can write a responsibly comprehensive book about the problems that loom over the United States of America without discussing an entire generation of Americans. (OK, to be fair, there are some entries for “Generation X” in the index of The Next America, which I have not read because I just opened the package today, but very apparently the book glosses over Gen X for a much more detailed discussion about the boomers and the Millennials.)

We Xers care about, we are affected by and we affect Social Security, Medicare, retirement security, income inequality, climate change, human rights, social justice, politics, overpopulation, etc., etc., and while millions want to simply ignore us (and so do simply ignore us) because to do so fits their own selfish political agendas, we Gen Xers are right fucking here, tens of millions of us — whether the generation that precedes us and the generation that follows us (and, tragically, they have so many characteristics in common) wish to see us or not.

Now: Here is Rall’s column, with my comments inserted in [brackets]:

I’ve been disappeared.

Erased from history.

Dropped down the memory hole.

(bye)

If you were born between 1961 and 1976, you no longer exist. [Exact definitions of Gen X vary. In my book, Gen X begins around 1962 to 1964. 1961 is a bit early, in my book. And I would extend Gen X at least to those born in 1980.]

Generation X has been disappeared.

The Soviets altered photos to excise the images of leaders who had fallen out of favor, but communist censors went after individuals.

America’s corporate media is more ambitious. They’re turning 50 million people into unpersons. [Again, I see figures that put Gen X at least at 80 million, but even only 50 million people, if Rall’s figure indeed is closer to the actual figure, still is a large chunk of the national population of more than 317 million.]

The disappearing of Gen X began about a year ago, when major news outlets began reducing living Americans to two generations: the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1960) and their children, the Millennials (born approximately 1977-2004).

[I would include 1945, and perhaps also 1944, for the boomers, and I probably wouldn’t start the Millennials earlier than 1980. Again, these generational demarcations vary from person to person. To me, personal characteristics and worldview are important, too, not strictly the year in which one was born, perhaps especially in those generationally cuspy situations. (My husband, for instance, born in 1962, while on the cusp of the boomers and the Xers, has more Xer characteristics than boomer characteristics; otherwise, he wouldn’t be my husband…)]

(Generational birth years are controversial. Many classify the Boom years between 1946 and 1964, but I agree with the demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe’s assessment — and the novelist Douglas Coupland, who defined the term “Generation X” — that people like me, born from ’61 to ’64, called “the most dysfunctional cohort of the century,” identify with the culture and economic fortunes of Xers, not the Boom.)

The unpersoning of X takes full bloom in “Wooing a New Generation of Museum Patrons,” a March 19, 2014, piece in The New York Times about how museums like the Guggenheim are soliciting money from “a select group of young donors already contributing at a high level.”

Take your gum/joint/food out of your mouth before reading further, lest you gag: “Several hundred Millennials mingled under the soaring atrium of the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue one recent frigid February night. Weaving around them were black-clad servers bearing silver trays piled high with doughnuts, while a pixieish D.J. spun Daft Punk remixes.”

According to the Times’ David Gelles (playing the role of Winston Smith): “Across the country, museums large and small are preparing for the eventual passing of the baton from the Baby Boom generation, which for decades has been the lifeblood not only of individual giving but of boardroom leadership. Yet it is far from clear whether the children of Baby Boomers are prepared to replicate the efforts of their parents.”

Gelles’ piece doesn’t contain any reference to Generation X.

Really? Museums don’t give a crap about would-be philanthropists among the millionaires born between 1961 and 1976?

By the way, Xers were into Daft Punk before Millennials were even done being born.

Boomer/Millennial articles that ignore the existence of Xers have become commonplace. Again in The New York TimesEmily Esfahani Smith and Jennifer L. Aaker perform the neat trick of disappearing one-sixth of the country. Their November 30, 2013, op/ed about “Millennial Searchers” for the meaning of life asks about Millennials: “Do we have a lost generation on our hands?”

Substitute “1991” for “2008” and everything Smith and Aaker write could be, and was written about Gen X: “Yet since the Great Recession of 2008, they have been having a hard time. They are facing one of the worst job markets in decades. They are in debt. Many of them are unemployed. The income gap between old and young Americans is widening.”

Even in an essay about humanity’s search for meaning — and about the downward mobility that defines Gen X — there is only room for Boomers and Millennials.

It’s like our crappy economy and low wages and student loan debt never even happened. [Infuckingdeed. As I’ve noted here before, it’s incredibly interesting that our Gen Xers’ crippling student-loan debt and lack of decent jobs never were considered to be newsworthy at all, but that those problems sure the fuck are today, now that they are affecting the precious “Baby-on-Board” crowd.]

“No one’s talkin’ ’bout my generation,” notes columnist M.J. Fine, a Generation Xer. “It’s hard to think of an era in which people ages 34-49 had less social currency.”

Remember the great coming clash over Social Security between Boomers and Xers? We’ve vanished from that narrative too, not just in a thousand words but over the course of a full-length book: The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown.

It’s not just the Times. In Sonya Stinson’s frivolous “What Gen Y Can Teach Boomers About Financial Planning” in Forbes, Gen X neither learns nor teaches. Gen X doesn’t exist.

Poof!

I saved the worst for last. Courtesy of a sharp-eyed reader, check out PBS’ Judy Woodruff, defining the generations for a NewsHour interview with the author of The Next America:

I just want to remind everybody what those age groups are, the Millennials, 18 to 33 years old today, Gen X, 34 to 39 [years old] today, the Boomers, 50 — the big group — 50 to 68 [years old], and the Silent [Generation], 69 to 86 [years old].

In PBS World, Gen X has shrunk. If you’re in your forties, you no longer have a generational home.

Life begins at 40?

[To be fair, I listened to the PBS clip, and in it Woodruff clearly says “Gen X, 34 to 49″ years old. The transcript, however, reads “34 to 39” years old, an apparent typo.]

More like the empty void of generational purgatory, as far as the Boomer-controlled media is concerned.

Indeed, the No. 1 reason that we Gen Xers have been so successfully disappeared is that the boomers have controlled the media, and thus the national discussion, for most of our lives. The powers that be want us to be non-existent, and the powers that be mostly still are boomers and they still mostly control the media, and thus they still mostly monopolize the national discussion.

But actually, as much as I have complained about the unfairness and the insanity of it, I think that I would take my “generational purgatory” (an apt description of Gen X) over the unearned and undeserved attention and rewards that the boomers and the Millennials have received.

Having been left to raise ourselves to such a degree and having been systematically and even institutionally ignored and passed over — and, indeed, having been shit and pissed upon — our entire fucking lives, we Gen Xers have, out of necessity, developed strength, resilience and self-reliance that most members of the pretty fucking awful, overprivileged generations that immediately precede us and immediately follow us never will possess.*

And who wants to be a member of a generation whose collective personality is like that of Nellie Olesen? (OK, the boomers and the Millennials do, but that was a rhetorical question.)

Gen X still rules — not literally, not sociopolitically, but where it really counts — which is why we’re so widely ignored by the two generations that don’t hold a candle to us.

*That said, while the boomers have been a lost fucking cause for a long, long time, and will take their generational assholery with them to their graves and urns, I suppose that the Millennials still have enough time to not become just like their baby-boomer examples.

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In defense of Paula Deen

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her.”

— Jesus Christ, talking to the fucking hypocrites of his day (John 8:7)

Food Network won't renew Paula Deen's contract

Associated Press image

I’m not big on baby boomers or Southerners — hell, I’m not big on many if not most of my fellow whiteys — but I am big on fairness and justice, and I don’t see that celebrity cook Paula Deen, who renounces racism today, thus far has been shown much fairness and justice for her admission that back in the day she used the word “nigger.”

First off, let me get my own biases on the table: I don’t like baby boomers and I don’t like Southerners, especially those with the Southern drawl. Both groups remind me of what’s so wrong with the United States of America. And Paula Deen is both a baby boomer and a Southerner, having been born in 1947 (making her 66 years old) and being a resident of Savannah, Georgia. (Indeed, the portrait of her above doesn’t warm my heart, but gives me the willies.)

That said, regardless of your demographics, you are entitled to fairness and justice.

When asked if she’d ever uttered the slur “nigger,” Southern-cooking queen Deen reportedly admitted in a recent court deposition, “Yes, of course,” adding, “It’s been a very long time.”

How long ago it was that Deen last used “the ‘n’-word” (I favor spelling it out, frankly; why candy-coat racism?) I’m not certain. Was it five years ago? Ten? Twenty? Thirty?

If Deen used it last week or last month or last year or even five years ago, then I could see reason for the outrage, which has culminated in Food Network terminating her cooking-show contract, but if Deen truly last used “nigger” many years ago and truly regrets it, and if her views on race and race relations have changed, then the dog-piling upon her now serves no useful purpose.

Seriously — the woman was truthful in a deposition and now she faces a firestorm for her truthfulness? Why should anyone else be truthful, then, in a similar situation?

And if we won’t accept that any person who previously had racist views could have changed and evolved, but must wear a big, red letter “R” for the rest of his or her life, what does that mean? Does that mean that we want racism to linger, to be a permanent condition?

Does that mean that we’re so smug and so small and so petty and so hypocritical, that, in order to feel so fucking superior, we periodically must publicly burn someone like Paula Deen at the stake? (That was a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway: Yes, yes, yes, it does.)

Maybe it was the casualness with which Deen admitted her past use of “nigger”: “Yes, of course” I used the word “nigger,” she reportedly testified.

My guess is that that was her world, the world in which she grew up: That in her day and place (apparently, she has lived in Georgia her entire life), “nigger” was tossed around quite casually by the whiteys who surrounded her. If that’s just historical fact, then why are we lynching Paula Deen for the racism of so many, many others?

I’ll tell you what I find offensive: The fact that in his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama — whose sphere of influence is much, much vaster than is Paula Deen’s — told “Christo”fascist “pastor” Prick Warren: “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman” — “a sacred union,” he added, adding, “God’s in the mix.”

I find that very offensive not only as a gay man, but as an atheist who wants no elected official to shove his or her belief (or stated belief) in a non-existent entity (let’s fucking face it: “God” is just a Santa-Claus figure on crack, knowing whether you’ve been “bad” or “good” and rewarding you or punishing you thusly) down my fucking throat.

Obama also in his 2008 remarks to Prick Warren also made the “states’ rights” argument where same-sex marriage is concerned (the same argument that the white supremacists have made where discrimination against blacks has been concerned), and Obama stated that he supported the “separate-but-equal” (my words, not his) civil union for same-sex couples, but not same-sex marriage. (The video clip of those remarks is right here.)

Now, 2008 wasn’t very long ago — my guess is that Paula Deen last used “nigger” before 2008 — but I don’t see what good it would do to lambast Obama, who supposedly finally “evolved” and stated in May 2012 that he now supports same-sex marriage — as a permanent homophobe for what his stance was in 2008.

True, Obama didn’t publicly use a slur such as “fag” or “queer” or “dyke,” but let me tell you something: I don’t fucking care what words you use or don’t use. Obama in 2008 (and before and beyond) publicly espoused such deeply unfair and unjust and unconstitutional ideas as the idea of “states’ rights” where equal human and civil rights are concerned and the idea that the “separate-but-equal” civil union in lieu of actual marriage for same-sex couples is A-OK, even though the civil union in lieu of actual marriage essentially forces non-heterosexual couples to drink from a different drinking fountain.

I find these dangerous, harmful, blatantly unjust and unconstitutional ideas to be at least as offensive as the use of the word “nigger.” I don’t care that Obama used “nice” words to express his right-wing, discriminatory, heterosexist, bigoted ideas in his little chat with Prick Warren in 2008. The ideas themselves are ugly enough, and only morons to whom words are magic! get tripped up by “bad” words such as “nigger” while allowing the expression of absofuckinglutely unconscionably oppressive ideas a free fucking pass because the utterer of those ideas didn’t use any “bad” words to express them, but used only “nice” words. (So-called “Christians” love to believe that it’s perfectly fine to express Nazi-like ideas — just as long as you don’t use any profanity. Jesus himself would have told these fucking hypocrites to go fuck themselves. [Truly — read the New Testament and see what Jesus said to and about the “religious” hypocrites of his day. It’s there in black and white.])

Further, do I believe that Barack Obama truly gives a shit about non-heterosexuals?

Fuck no.

Obama has no moral compass, but is a political weather vane, facing whichever direction the weather vane is facing.

Obama is a human calculator. He calculated in 2008 that for maximum political gain he should tell “Christo”fascist Prick Warren that he opposed same-sex marriage. (Really, watch the clip — Warren’s audience applauds much of what Obama has to say.) In May of last year, Obama calculated differently, calculated that now he should announce that he finally has “evolved” on the issue of same-sex marriage. (To my knowledge, however, Obama has yet to drop his “states’ rights” stance, that is, to my knowledge, to this day, Obama still believes, or at least still publicly states that he believes, that each of the 50 states should be able to decide whether or not to honor non-heterosexuals’ equal human and civil rights that are guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States of America. That’s fucking sick.)

Obama certainly had calculated differently on same-sex marriage back in 1996. In 1996, when he still was involved in Illinois state politics, Obama responded, in writing, to a gay and lesbian newspaper’s questionnaire: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

He proclaimed that back in 1996, when he was first elected to the Illinois legislature. Today, he shouts, “States’ rights”! So much for Obama’s promise that he would fight efforts to prohibit same-sex marriage!

Obama is an opportunistic bag of slime, but I don’t see what good it would do to burn former (or supposedly former) homophobes at the stake for their former (or supposedly former) homophobia. Even if these individuals still interiorly were homophobic but at least publicly took an anti-homophobic stance, hey, that’s better than someone who publicly is taking a homophobic stance.

It wouldn’t advance equal human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals to hang a big red letter “H” on former (or supposedly former) homophobes, so I don’t see how it advances equal human and civil rights for non-whites for us to hang a big red letter “R” on Paula Deen.

I don’t know whether or not Paula Deen interiorly is significantly racist. Probably only she knows that.

It’s good enough for me that whatever word or words she uttered back in the day, today she rebukes racism and racist expression.

If you believe otherwise, then perhaps you emotionally and cognitively and egoistically are invested in the continuation of racism, as evidenced by the apparent fact that you apparently fucking refuse to allow anyone to reform — which makes you just as fucking sick as the actual racists whom you castigate.

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Reading between the conventions’ lines

Cardinal Dolan shakes hands with U.S Speaker of the House Boehner after delivering the closing benediction during the final session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa

Reuters photo

Repugnican Tea Party Speaker of the House John Boehner shakes the hoof of right-wing New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan after Dolan gave the closing prayer at the Repugnican Tea Party Convention in Tampa, Florida, on August 30. Not to be outdone in wingnuttery, the Democratic Party had the right-wing Dolan also give the Democratic National Convention’s closing prayer, in which Dolan expressed his and the Catholick church’s opposition to abortion and to same-sex marriage. Yet the shameless Democratic Party hacks cry foul when those of us who are sane and who reject evil pieces of shit like Dolan claim, correctly, that the two right-wing, pro-corporate parties (which I can think of only as the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party) are becoming more indistinguishable from each other day by day.

About the last thing that you want to pay attention to at the Coke Party’s and Pepsi Party’s quadrennial conventions are the politicians’ speeches.

The vast majority of political speeches are just shameless propaganda, false proclamations of actually giving a shit about the average American, and are not an actual reflection of reality (what it has been, what it is now or what it will be).

No, you look for other clues at the partisan duopoly’s conventions to inform you as to what’s really going on.

The two things that you have needed to know about the Repugnican Tea Party convention are that a black camerawoman for CNN had food thrown at her by white delegates and was referred to as an “animal,” and that an addled, doddering, grumpy old man who wants to take us back to the 1950s (or before) in a way-back machine still is the face of the Repugnican Tea Party. (It was John McCainosaurus in 2008, and Clint Eastwood this time.)

Of course, if you watched any of the Repugnican Tea Party convention coverage (even just brief clips, as I did), you saw, as the camera panned across the convention attendees, that it was a sea of lily-white faces. Seriously, why don’t they go ahead and don their pointy white hoods already? We all know that they want to.

I’ve seen only snippets of Mittens Romney’s acceptance speech. He wore way too much makeup, which only made him look even faker than he already comes across, and his whisper-like, condescending, faux-compassionate voice makes me want to hurl.

This man is a multi-millionaire Mormon. He cares only about his fellow millionaires and his fellow Mormons. If you believe otherwise, then there is something seriously the fuck the matter with you and your grasp of reality.

I don’t need to listen to Mittens’ words. I have only to listen to the strong voice within every time I see even a brief clip of Mittens: This uber-phony man is evil. He has to be phony because if he showed us his true self, enough of us would be repulsed that he’d never win the election. It wouldn’t even be close enough for him to steal it, as appears to be his party’s game plan, a la 2000.

Not that the establishmentarian, Clintonesque Democrats are much better.

I haven’t bothered to watch even a brief clip of Barack Obama’s convention speech. Why? What would be the point? We know what we’re going to get with four more years of Obama: more broken promises, more of the same, more concessions to the corporations and to the right wing, more excuses as to why Obama absofuckinglutely refuses to head an opposition party, which is what the Democratic Party used to be until the slimy baby boomer Bill Clinton destroyed it, as the greedy, corrupt, talentless baby boomers have destroyed or are about to destroy all of our nation’s best institutions (including, of course, Social Security and Medicare. [They destroyed even capitalism, too, but of course, capitalism needed to be destroyed]).

We know that while of course Mittens would be worse than would be Obama (except for Mittens’ fellow Mormons and his fellow millionaires, of course), the prospect of another four more years of Obama is nothing to be excited about.

There were two stand-out events at the Democrats’ convention that, for me, tell me what I really need to know about the party. And again, you won’t find this shit in politicos’ propagandistic speeches.

First, there was Barack Obama once again capitulating to right-wing and “Christo”fascist criticism, demanding that the Democratic Party’s platform, which the delegates had already democratically approved, be changed to add the word “God” and to add that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

As I wrote, the selfish, anti-democratic actions of the convention’s chair, the slimy Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, were repugant. Clearly Villaraigosa didn’t have the two-thirds voice vote by the delegates that he needed for the alteration of the platform to pass, but he shoved the changes to the platform down the delegates’ throats nonethefuckingless.

The Los Angeles Times today published Villaraigosa’s “defense” of his repulsive actions. He said:

  • “It was a lot of ado about nothing.”
  • When he was told that others didn’t hear a two-thirds voice vote, he replied smart-assedly, “That’s nice to know. I was the chairman and I did, and that was the prerogative of the chair.”
  • “It’s more a media concern than a delegate concern. I can tell you this — the president of the United States said, ‘Wow.’ The president said, ‘You showed why you were speaker of the California Assembly.’ The president, the vice president, Mrs. Obama, all of them acknowledged the decisive way I handled that.”
  • “The president of the United States and the leader of my party asked me to do this, and so I’m proud I have a president who believes God and Jerusalem should be in the platform, and so do I.”

What a fucking weasel Antonio Villaraigosa is. To call a blatantly anti-democratic move “decisive” is sick. No, Villaraigosa, you are not “decisive.” You are a fucking self-serving coward.

And it was not “a lot of ado about nothing” and not only a “media concern.” (Blaming shit on the media is quite Palinesque of Villaraigosa, however.) It was the hijacking of the platform that already had been democratically approved, and that is a serious matter. I’m not even a registered Democrat — because of slimeballs like Villaraigosa I’m a registered Green Party member — and I wasn’t even there, but when I watched the clip of Villaraigosa’s actions, I was incensed — as were many delegates who were there, for whom the lying Villaraigosa pretends he can speak. (It wasn’t a “delegate concern” — because he says so!)

“I was the chairman and I did [hear a two-thirds vote], and that was the prerogative of the chair,” Villaraigosa huffed. Bullshit. He did not hear it, which is why he had to hold the voice vote three fucking times (watch the clip yourself), and so when he claims that he did hear it, he fucking lies, but then immediately after his lie, he inadvertently tells us the truth: “that was the prerogative of the chair.”

I’ll translate that from the weaselspeak that Villaraigosa speaks into English: “I was able to abuse my position of power and trust, and so I did so. Fuck you for even questioning my authority.”

And then, Villaraigosa does even more quite inadvertent truth-telling: “The president, the vice president, Mrs. Obama, all of them acknowledged the decisive way I handled that,” and “The president of the United States and the leader of my party asked me to do this, and so I’m proud I have a president who believes God and Jerusalem should be in the platform, and so do I.”

Well, yes, indeed, Barack Obama (and, if Villaraigosa is telling the truth — it’s hard to know, because he’s such a fucking liar — Joe Biden and even Michelle Obama) wanted Villaraigosa to ram the last-minute, “Christo”fascist- and wingnut-placating changes to the party’s platform down the delegates’ throats, and so Villaraigosa the shameless fucking sellout dutifully did so.

But that is a “defense” — that he pleased his puppeteers? That makes what he did OK?

And what does it fucking matter what Barack Obama and Antonio Villaraigosa believe? The party platform already had been democratically approved by the convention delegates. Why bother to have the delegates at all if they can be overriden by power-drunk autocrats like this?

I’ll never give the slimeball Antonio Villaraigosa my vote even for dog catcher. He has demonstrated his character amply.

As has Barack Obama, of course.

Not content that he had alienated enough of his base by anti-democratically using his tool, the fool Villaraigosa, to change the party’s platform against the wishes of the delegates (who clearly are just window dressing, if that), Barack Obama decided that it would be a swell fucking idea to have the right-wing, anti-choice, anti-same-sex-marriage Catholick Cardinal Timothy Dolan give the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention.

The “Christo”fascist Dolan said these two things in his “benediction” to the Dems:

  • “Thus do we praise you [he’s talking to “God” here, you see] for the gift of life. Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure. We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected.”
  • “Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community.”

If you claim that these are not thinly veiled references to the Dark-Ages Catholick church’s “Christo”fascist stances on abortion and same-sex marriage, then you are a fucking liar or you are a fucking moron. (Or both.)

Dolan also talked about “freedom” and “liberty” in his “benediction” (“bene” is from the Latin word for “good,” but Dolan is evil, so to call it a “benediction” is a contradiction), but in Dolan’s and the Catholick church’s worldview, women may not have the freedom and liberty to make their own fucking reproductive choices, and same-sex couples shall not have the freedom and liberty of marriage equality, but are to be continued to be treated as less than equal human beings, as they have for centuries.

“Freedom” and “liberty” are reserved only for those who agree with Dolan and the right-wing, dying dinosaur that is the Catholick church under the command of Pope Palpatine, you see.

Know that this is how much brazen contempt Barack Obama and the ossified Democratic Party (the best of which it can do is wheel out the right-wing fossil that is Bill Fucking Clinton every once in a while) have for you: to invite a known — a well-fucking-known — right-wing, misogynist, homophobic, patriarchal piece of shit like Timothy Dolan to give the closing “benediction” of the Democratic National Convention.

Barack Obama isn’t concerned in the fucking least about delivering for his base.

He never fucking has been and he never fucking will be.

Barack Obama is way too busy catering to the right wing, you see, pushing the Democratic Party further and further to the right, making it more and more indistinguishable from the Repugnican Tea Party, and his stance toward you is the same arrogant, power-drunk stance that Antonio Villaraigosa has toward you:

Fuck you.

It’s his prerogative.

What are you going to do about it anyway?

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WTF is the matter with Mittens? He’s a multi-millionaire baby boomer, for starters

Raw Video: Romney headlines tabloids in London

Associated Press image

A London tabloid expresses its opinion of Mittens’ visit to London on the occasion of the city’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic games.

The 2012 Olympics have gotten off to a great start — and I’m not even into sports. (Well, men’s diving and men’s gymnastics are OK…)

As others have noted, all that Repugnican Tea Party presidential wannabe Mittens Romney really needed to do in London this past week was (1) to just show up and (2) to not make a total ass of himself. But very apparently, he could accomplish only one of those two objectives.

The mind of Mittens is a terrifying place to explore, but my blogger’s psychoanalysis of Mittens is that his London Olympics trip was meant to underscore the fact that he was in charge of the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City and was meant to show that he — and not Barack. Hussein. Obama. — is the man who should be representing the United States of America abroad. (I hate it when someone like Mittens acts like a shadow president — it’s deeply undemocratic, since we have not elected Mittens to act as our shadow president.)

And the wingnuts’ view of foreign relations, of course, is much closer to George W. Bush’s than it is to Barack Obama’s. And that view is that the United States of America must act like a drunken, aggressive, narcissistic frat boy, treating others in the manner of a complete and total asshole. 

On that note, I just signed on to this open letter to the people of the United Kingdom:

An open letter to the people of the United Kingdom:

We are writing to express our concern over Mitt Romney’s recent comments, and to let you know that he does not represent how most Americans view your great country.

First, we do not believe, as Mitt Romney implied in 2007, that you have become a second-tier nation. Rather, we are impressed at how the United Kingdom has consistently been able to punch above its weight on the world stage.

Additionally, we do not share the opinion which Romney expressed in his 2010 book, No Apologies, that “England [sic] is just a small island,” and that “with few exceptions, it doesn’t make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy.” Please continue sending us your many wonderful products, especially the upcoming third season of “Downton Abbey.”

We look forward not only to the London Olympics, but also to many years of continuing the special relationship between our two nations. Rest assured we will do our level best to prevent Mitt Romney from becoming our next president.

Cheers!

I hope that before the organizers send the letter on to the Brits, they delete that reference to “Downton Abbey”* — that bad joke seems actually to reinforce Mittens’ contention that the UK is not a serious contender on the world stage — but I agree with most of it. (If you want to sign on, you can do so by clicking here.)

Of course, when we state that “we are impressed at how the United Kingdom has consistently been able to punch above its weight on the world stage,” we need to be careful that with such broad statements we are not endorsing some of the UK’s atrocities, which include the subjugation and in some cases even the decimation of the natives of Africa, Australia, India and neighboring Ireland, and which also includes the UK’s government’s support of the Vietraq War, in which the United States and the UK were partners in war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Indeed, if the U.S.’s rap sheet of atrocities is shorter than the UK’s, that’s only because the U.S. is a much younger nation.)

All of that said — and all of that reinforcing  yet another reason why it was an incredibly poor idea for a henchman of Mittens to assert earlier this week that Mittens Romney better understands the “Anglo-Saxon heritage”** shared by the UK and the United States than does Obama — it was incredibly pompous for Mittens, as a guest of the UK, to state his opinion just before the opening of the 2012 Olympics that London wasn’t ready.    

My guess is that such boorish behavior comes from the fact that Mittens is an American baby boomer — as a group, these selfish narcissists vastly overestimate their talents, abilities and worth, and as a group, they know no fucking shame — and from the fact that as a overprivileged (Daddy was chairman and president of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962, governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, and secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973, and Mommy ran for the U.S. Senate for Michigan in 1970, for fuck’s sake) multi-millionaire (from his vulture capitalism) who is used to others sucking up to him, Mittens is uncomfortable in any other role than being the uber-alpha male, the frat-boy asshole on crack.

My guess is that Mittens feels like he’s in charge wherever he is, and that he saw nothing wrong with telling his hosts on the topic of hosting the Olympics: “You’re doing it wrong!”

Of course, again, those on the right subscribe to the George W. Bush School of Foreign Policy, so it’s not like in their eyes Mittens did anything wrong. They want their president to be the biggest bully on the international stage. Unless the U.S. president is hated worldwide, he isn’t doing his job — that’s their credo.

So, as usual, in November it will come down to the “swing voters.”

I don’t imagine that a huge chunk of them really cares either that Mittens conducted himself like a jackass in London this week, since their area of concern usually doesn’t extend more than a few miles’ radius, but if Mittens gets the reputation as a bumbler on the world stage — because he is — that might cost him a significant number of votes.

We’ll see, but in the meantime, it is instructive, I think, to examine Mittens’ personality traits that have been on display on the world stage this week and to ask ourselves what these personality traits would mean for us here at home should he ever sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.

Of course, we Americans just allowed George W. Bush to blatantly steal the White House in late 200o — what bad events possibly could follow a blatantly stolen presidential election? — so of course we can’t write presidential wannabe Mittens off.

*I purchased and watched the first two seasons of PBS’ “Downton Abbey,” and my impressions of the television show are that one, while the series is watchable, the first season was better than the second, and that two, “Downton Abbey’s” American target audience seems to be limousine liberals. (That said, I’m quite middle- and working-class myself. I’ve never even been inside of a limo.)

“Downton Abbey” seems to be making structural and institutional socioeconomic equality seem OK because the lord and lady of the manor are fairly decent individuals, are not individually abusive to their servants. Of course, the whole setup — an overprivileged class that is served by an underprivileged class — is abusive, but apparently we are to overlook that.

Thus, again, “Downton Abbey” should be a fave among the limousine liberals, like my baby-boomer uncle, who owns several homes and is a U.S. military contractor but who nonetheless in all seriousness calls himself a “socialist.”

**While I haven’t studied my own genealogy, I suspect that I primarily of am British stock, as many white Americans are. (Wikipedia notes that “German Americans [16.5 percent], Irish Americans [11.9 percent], English Americans [9.0 percent], Italian Americans [5.8 percent], French Americans [4 percent], Polish Americans [3 percent], Scottish Americans [1.9 percent], Dutch Americans [1.6 percent], Norwegian Americans [1.5 percent] and Swedish Americans [1.4 percent] constitute the 10 largest white American ancestries.”)

While there is much about the UK that I admire — such as the incredibly useful and expansive English language, of course — I think that it’s vital to recognize a nation’s wrongdoings as well as its successes. Thus, when Mittens said this in “defense” of his henchman’s “Anglo-Saxon heritage” remark, it was not a save: “It [the United States’ and the UK’s shared ‘Anglo-Saxon heritage’] goes back to our very beginnings — cultural and historical. But I also believe the president understands that. So I don’t agree with whoever that adviser might be, but do agree that we have a very common bond between ourselves and Great Britain.”

Yes, among other things, the United States and the UK have in common their colonization of other nations, the raping, pillaging and plundering of other, militarily weaker nations (including, of course, slavery) so that the UK and the U.S. could maintain a standard of living much higher than that of the average member of Homo sapiens on planet Earth. (And for this so-called “Anglo-Saxon” “success” you will get no apologies from Mittens Romney!)

When the British empire waned, the American empire rose up to replace it, and now the American empire wanes.

And you gotta love Mittens’ assertion, “So I don’t agree with whoever that adviser might be.” How much control, exactly, does Mittens have over his own campaign?

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Why I don’t blog for the baby boomers

Infanticide suddenly seems like a good thing…

Most people who read blogs probably assume that most bloggers want to appeal to as wide an audience as possible — and therefore, never to (gasp!) offend anybody.

Not me.

I don’t think that I’ve ever come out and said it, but for these past almost 10 years of blogging, I’ve been writing primarily for those in my age group (Generation X) and younger.

If some baby boomers or even older folks read my blog, fine, but if they don’t, perhaps that’s even better, since I don’t write for them. I long ago stopped looking to the baby boomers (generally identified as those born between 1946 and 1964, but to me the cohort really spans from about 1944 to 1960) to be agents of positive change, and I look to those in my age group and younger instead.

Most of my critics turn out to be (I see from their blog avatars) baby boomers. Before I take their criticism to heart, I look at their mugshot avatars. Chances are, they’re boomers (who apparently think that an Internet presence makes them young again [it doesn’t], and who of course have to plaster their faces on their blogs, being spotlight hogs). If they have a bio, I read that, too. Chances are, from their bios I surmise that they’re people I wouldn’t like in person, so it comes as no shock that I’ve written something that (gasp!) offends their delicate sensibilities. (People who act as though they have the fucking right never to be offended in the least bit — they’re interesting. [Psychiatrically, I mean.])

I could write a book on the fucking baby boomers, but I’ll try to keep this to a blog post, albeit a long one.

George W. Bush (born in 1946) could be the poster boy for the baby-boom generation.

He accomplished nothing on his own, but coasted on his family name. If George Sr. hadn’t been president first, there’s no way in hell that George Jr. would have been governor of Texas and then the second president named George Bush.

Not only that, but George Jr. in 2000 stole office (with the help of his brother Jeb, who then was the governor of Florida, the critical state that George Jr. “won”; with the help of then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who infamously disenfranchised voters by deeming them felons when they were not; and with the help of the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, which stopped the recounting process in Florida). George Jr. didn’t even win the presidency outright.

Then, once in the Oval Office, George W. thoroughly trashed the nation, among other things allowing 9/11 to happen (remember the August 2001 presidential daily briefing titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”?), allowing Hurricane Katrina to kill hundreds of Americans, taking the nation to a bogus war for the no-bid federal-government contracts for Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and the other oily subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp, and giving giant tax breaks to the filthy rich. George W. Bush had received the nation in good shape from Bill Clinton and the prosperous 1990s, and delivered it to Barack Obama in January 2009 on the brink of collapse.

That, in a nutshell, is the baby-boomer modus operandi: inherit your power and your wealth from your parents, squander it selfishly and recklessly, and leave nothing behind for those who follow you, not even the polar ice caps.

Baby boomers unabashedly display a bumper sticker that reads “I’m Spending My Children’s Inheritance.” (I’ve seen this bumper sticker on cars driven by boomers several times.)

This is supposed to be funny. Ha ha.

Except that the baby boomers’ parents, the members of the so-called “greatest generation,” didn’t spend their children’s inheritance. They gave their children — the baby boomers — their inheritance.

Not so with the baby-boom generation, the first generation in the history of the United States of America that did not care in the fucking least about at least trying to leave things in better shape for those who must follow them.

The baby boomers, endlessly doted upon by their parents, had no problems going to college and getting good jobs. Hell, they didn’t even have to go to college to live well. (Neither of my baby-boomer parents has a four-year college degree, but neither of them during their young to middle adulthood ever struggled with buying homes and cars. My four-year degree, on the other hand, which I worked hard for, was worthless when I received it — along with considerable student-loan debt — in 1990 during the first George Bush recession, and I gave up on having a paid job that allows me to make good use of my skills [without doing evil and without completely being exploited by some talentless plutocrats] and I gave up on home ownership long, long ago.) If the boomers put just a minimal effort into attaining a college degree, a good job, a home, a nice car, these things were theirs for the taking. The members of the “greatest generation” made sure of that.

But do the baby boomers today give a rat’s ass about our young people of today?

Hell fucking no.

This is from The Associated Press today:

The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees. …

Again, when this Gen X’er received his worthless bachelor’s degree in 1990 — a journalism degree, which in the face of mass newspaper layoffs at the time was worthless (and still would be mostly worthless today, although as a blogger it gives me a leg up) — there were not, to his recollection, any news stories about the fact that in the face of the recession, college degrees were worthless, and newly minted college graduates had to take jobs that greatly underutilized their talents and abilities — and struggle with student loans they couldn’t afford to repay. (Massive student loan debt was something that the boomers did not experience when they were of college age and young adults because their parents saw them as young people to be fostered — not as cash cows to be milked dry.) 

It would have been nice to get the media attention then that today’s struggling young college grads are getting today — in my day, for instance, crushing student-loan debt wasn’t seen as any problem whatsofuckingever, since my generation always has been viewed by the boomer majority as wholly disposable, but today, both the Democratic and the Repugnican candidates for president are promising to work on the suddenly-now-obvious problem of crushing student-loan debt — but, I suppose, better late than never. (And ah, well, as my fellow Gen X’er Ted Rall has noted, we X’ers indeed are the “leapfrog generation,” the generation [between the boomers and Generation Y] that has been passed over entirely.)

Why have Gen-X and younger college grads struggled so much in the job market since at least the First Great Bush Recession (circa 1990)?

It’s not just the economy, although the greedy, get-mine-and-get-out boomers fucked that up, too.

It’s the boomers’ sheer numbers — 76 million of them, according to Wikipedia — that alone would create at least some amount of scarcity in the American job market (and indeed, the majority of the plum jobs have been taken by the boomers for decades now), but their sheer numbers are coupled with the fact that, unlike the generations before them, they refuse to leave the fucking stage when their act has long been over. The boomers view their jobs just like the U.S. Supreme Court “justices” view theirs: We’ll have to pry their cold, dead fingers from their desks.

Other generations of Americans knew when it was time to hand over the reins. And they handed them over. Not the boomers.

Witness baby boomer Madonna (born 1958), whose latest big video has her playing a high-school cheerleader. She’s fiftyfuckingthree. It apparently kills her to fucking pass the torch already. And she’s typical of her generation, thinking that she’s some hot shit acting and trying to look decades younger than she is, when in fact, she’s just fucking pathetic, refusing, like Peter Pan, to grow the fuck up already.

With the baby boomers we have and will continue to have a nation full of old people, but not old and wise people.

Baby boomers whine that they can’t retire because they can’t afford to retire. Bullshit. Most of them can afford to retire — it’s that they want to live in excess and opulence (“enough” isn’t in their vocabulary) and it’s also that, whether they will admit it or not, out of their egotism they must believe that we younger folk can’t get along without them.

As Wikipedia notes of the boomers (emphasis mine):

One feature of boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about ….

Yes, indeed, all of that rhetoric from the boomers in the 1960s about changing the world, and boy, have they. They fought against the Vietnam War, only to create the Vietraq War themselves. (Apparently the only reason that they opposed the Vietnam War was to save their own skins. They were perfectly OK, however, with bogus warfare in Iraq. After all, it was someone else doing the dying for the baby boomers’ profits.) The American empire, which is being sucked dry by the vampires who comprise the corporate-military-prison-industrial complex (the majority of them boomers, of course), is on the brink of death, and even the North Pole is melting. The baby boomers ushered in change, indeed.

The baby boomers are the first generation of Americans in the nation’s history who are leaving things much worse off for the generations that follow them.

Before the boomers it always had been the American ideal that the current generation in power leaves things in better shape, not in worse shape, for the generations that follow them. And congratulations, boomers; your generation very apparently is the one that, history probably will record, destroyed the American empire. You fucked it all up on your watch.

Point out these obvious truths, and the boomers almost invariably will tell you (the post-boomer) how “Angry!” you are, as though you’re defective for being angry about obvious injustices.

No, when you are being raped in the ass with ground grass for lube, you have every fucking right to be ANGRY!

The boomers are taking everything with them, shamelessly — and even bragging about it in their “funny” bumper stickers.

Here’s another cheery story from The Associated Press today (emphases mine):

Social Security is rushing even faster toward insolvency, driven by retiring baby boomers, a weak economy and politicians’ reluctance to take painful action to fix the huge retirement and disability program.

The trust funds that support Social Security will run dry in 2033 — three years earlier than previously projected — the government said [today].

There was no change in the year that Medicare’s hospital insurance fund is projected to run out of money. It’s still 2024. …

At age 44, I’ve been paying into Social Security and Medicare since I began working when I was a teenager, but I don’t expect to see a fucking penny of either. The baby boomers are poised to blatantly steal my money — and slam me for being “so angry!” while they do it.

The boomers are leaving those of us who follow them with less than nothing, but we’re supposed to think that they’re great fucking people nonetheless. (Or, at least, we’re supposed to keep our fucking mouths shut while the boomers screw us over like no other generation in U.S. history has screwed over the next generation ever before.)

That’s part of the baby boomers’ mass narcissistic sociopathology — they are a “special” generation, indeed — and the reason that I put the “greatest generation” in quotation marks is that I don’t see how you can assert that the parents who created the most spoiled generation in the nation’s history comprise the “greatest generation.” No, in producing the baby boomers, the members of the “greatest generation” fucked up big-time. It’s almost impossible to overstate what awful parents the members of the “greatest generation” were. Regardless of what their intentions might have been, the results of their parenting have been catastrophic for the nation — and for the world.

And the boomers’ bumper sticker sums up their credo, their manifesto, indeed, their raison d’être, neatly: “I’m Spending My Children’s Inheritance.”

Yes, I got that long, long ago. Consequently, I stopped looking to the boomers long ago. The ones who created the colossal mess aren’t the ones to fix it. The boomers exist to cause problems, not to solve problems, and to consume, not to produce. They are the problem, not the solution. They are, essentially, dead to me. That’s why I could give a flying fuck if a single baby boomer ever reads a single blog post of mine.

I look not to the boomers, but to my fellow members of Gen X and to those poor souls who have to follow us. (I’d thought that my generation had it bad, but today’s young people are even more screwed, apparently, than has been my generation. They do have one thing that my generation didn’t have, however, and that’s a national conversation about how badly today’s young people have it.)

We, the post-boomers, are the clean-up crew. It’s not a job that we wanted. It’s a job that the boomers have forced upon us.

What the baby boomers probably should do while those of us who have had to follow them perform the incredibly difficult work of cleaning up after their decades-long wholesale trashing of the nation is shut the fuck up and be very thankful that the national conversation has not yet turned to the elephant in the room, to the root of our nation’s problems: the baby boomers and the increasing burden on the nation that they are. And that we post-boomers have not yet begun to seriously discuss a much, much better use for the baby boomers: something along the lines of Soylent Green.

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Documentary ‘Bully’ flawed but spurs vital conversation

Film review

review-bully-movie-image-alex

Kelby is one of the bullied students who had a strong family and friend support system in "Bully."

Alex and Kelby, above, are two of the victims of school bullying who are featured in The Weinstein Company’s documentary “Bully.” Alex, who was born prematurely, in the documentary is portrayed as being called “Fishface” and routinely physically assaulted at school and on the school bus, and Kelby left her school because of very apparently coordinated anti-lesbian discrimination. Below is 18-year-old Sawyer Rosenstein (who is not featured in “Bully”), whose school bully put him in a wheelchair when he was 12 years old. Sawyer and his family just settled with the board of the New Jersey school district for more than $4 million. In the settlement the school board denies that the school failed to protect Sawyer, even though its failure to protect him is quite fucking obvious.

The documentary “Bully” should be required viewing for every American, even those who, like me (a gay man), don’t have a son or daughter in a public school and (most likely) never will.

“Bully” is not only about how cruel and abusive some students can be toward other students, but it’s about how chronically victimized students routinely are failed by the adults in their lives who are supposed to foster and to protect them — not just by school teachers and school administrators, but also by their parents.

An assistant principal featured in “Bully” especially is clueless and worthless — she’s a baby boomer, and it’s all about the baby boomers, so there you go.

In one scene, the assistant principal forces the victim to shake the victimizer’s hand, as though that superficial action were any true solution to the long-term problem of the one student chronically bullying the other. The assistant principal in this incident apparently makes the common, unthinking person’s error in basically asserting that whenever there is a conflict, both sides must be equally guilty. (Actually, that bullshit belief just comes out of the sheer laziness to actually sort it all out and see who truly is at fault, but instead to just try to sweep it all under the carpet.)

In another scene, when a couple of parents come to the assistant principal after having viewed actual video footage of their child’s being seriously, violently bullied on the school bus, the assistant principal (again, a baby boomer) surreally manages to make it all about herself, even whipping out a photo of her grandbaby, stating that of course she cares about all of our babies (of course, the student who is being bullied is not an infant).

The assistant principal also declares that she has ridden that bus herself and that there is no problem whatsoever on the bus. Never mind the facts that there is video footage of the serious problems with violent bullying on that bus and that of course the students are going to behave themselves on the bus when the assistant principal is on board.

What the fuck? With brazenly incompetent, self-interested school administrators like these in our schools, administrators who are more interested in playing politics and in portraying a false portrait of how things are rather than actually being responsible to the students in their care, no fucking wonder bullying is such a problem.

It’s not just the school administrators, of course. The United States of America’s number one spending priority is not its schools, but is the bloated-beyond-belief military-industrial complex.

If enough Americans truly cared about what was going on inside our schools, our schools would be much, much better — including being adequately staffed so that incidents of bullying would be reduced significantly. We have the resources to greatly improve our students’ lives; it’s not a lack of resources, but it’s a lack of caring, including a nationwide public apathy that just allows the powers that be to steal our tax dollars and spend them not on what we need, such as good, safe schools, health care and environmental protection, and to take care of the least among us, but to blow our tax dollars on the military-industrial complex, which is not about defense, but which is about making filthy, treasonously rich swine even richer than they already are through such avenues as colossal military contracting waste and waging bogus wars for corporate expansion, such as how Iraq has been opened to the profiteering of Big Oil via the illegal and immoral Vietraq War.

“Bully” raises these important issues, at least indirectly, but as a documentary is flawed.

“Bully” focuses on bullying that has occurred in public schools in the Southern and Midwestern states of Iowa, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Georgia, and ignores bullying that happens elsewhere in the nation. Bullying is a national problem. My guess is that it’s significantly worse in the red states than it is in the blue states, but it happens eveywhere.

“Bully” probably focuses too much on one child, the 12-year-old Alex, who was born prematurely and who, while he’s an affable kid, is different from the others (who call him “Fishface”) and who thus is bullied. That said, Alex’s life is an excellent example of a child who has been failed by most of the adults in his life, not only by his bus driver and his draw-droppingly awful assistant principal, but even by his own father, who advises him to just fight back, even though Alex is fairly slight and probably can’t effectively fight back physically.

Alex’s father tells him that if he doesn’t fight back, his younger sister will be bullied, too — and that’s putting way too much pressure and responsibility upon a minor, and letting the adults continue in their dereliction of duty.

Even Alex’s mother, who apparently is the most genuinely concerned about him, probably should have concerned herself more about what was happening to him at school and on the school bus before she found out through the documentarians’ film footage.

Another flaw of “Bully” is that while we don’t need grotesque details, it sure would be nice to be told in more detail why, exactly, some of the victims of bullying-induced suicide took their own lives. The young man named Tyler, for example. Why was he bullied? Was he gay or suspected to be gay? In “Bully” we are told a lot about Tyler, who hanged himself in his bedroom closet at age 17, but we’re not really told about why he was bullied.

For the most part, “Bully” doesn’t tell us what to think, but lets us come to our own conclusions. The story of Ja’Maya, a black teen who says that she only brought her mother’s handgun with her on her school bus because she wanted to scare the kids who had been bullying her, reeks of racism/white supremacism as we watch yet another stupid white male, baby-boomer sheriff — who perhaps never has been a victim of bullying himself, but perhaps has been a bully his entire life (bullies are, after all, drawn to law enforcement) — declare that no amount of bullying could justify what Ja’Maya did, and we are left with the sense that if Ja’Maya were, say, a white male jock instead of a 14-year-old black female, the “criminal” “justice” system where she lives would have treated her very differently.

Kelby, the 16-year-old lesbian who is featured in “Bully” is eloquent and intelligent and strong, but “Bully” probably doesn’t say enough about the bullying that happens to gay and lesbian and non-gender-conforming students, who comprise probably the most-bullied group of students.

“Bully” should be an invitation for us not only to declare jihad upon bullying in our public schools, but to tackle the bullying that happens in our workplaces as well. In many if not even most workplaces, bullying occurs on a regular basis. The belief that adulthood in and of itself automatically erases the dynamics that we saw in our public school days is a fucking myth.

The perpetrators of bullying in the workplace know better than to get physically abusive/violent in most cases, but verbal abuse/harassment, sexual harassment/sexual abuse and the abuse of power can make the workplace just as hostile as a public school. And just like bullies in school are careful about bullying when no one in authority is present, workplace bullies most often do their deeds when there is no one who might do something about their bullying is around.

Hopefully more documentaries about bullying will be made, although after “Bully,” school administrators might be much less willing to appear on camera.

Stories of bullying abound, such as the current news story about Sawyer Rosenstein, who became paralyzed from the waist down when a bully at school punched him when he was 12 years old. Sawyer, now 18, is in a wheelchair and just settled with the board of the New Jersey public school district for $4.2 million.

Admittedly, most individuals who are punched don’t become paralyzed — Sawyer apparently was the unfortunate victim of a freak medical event (a blood clot) — but Sawyer’s case illustrates how seriously dangerous bullying can be.

At least three months before his bully put him in a wheelchair Sawyer had informed his school’s administrators that he was being bullied, but even after Sawyer’s life-changing injury at the hands of his bully, msnbc.com reports,

The [New Jersey public school district’s] board denied [in its settlement statement] allegations that it or its employees had “failed or compromised its responsibility to develop and to implement effective policies and procedures to protect the safety and rights” of the school community, … noting that the district “prides itself for the role which it has played in recognizing and developing an awareness of the dangers of bullying, intimidation and harassment in the school setting.”

Bullying can’t be addressed if school administrators, in order to save their own skins, won’t even fucking acknowledge it.

It’s our own collective fault, however, that brazenly incompetent and self-interested school administrators like these remain in power and that our schools don’t have more resources, such as adequate staffing to supervise students, to combat bullying.

And until school administrators and teachers stop saying that it’s the parents’ responsibility, and parents stop saying that it’s the schools’ responsibility, and school administrators stop saying that it’s law enforcement’s reponsibility, and law enforcement stops saying that it’s the schools’ responsibility — and all of us (even those of us without children of our own) take responsibility for the well-being of our young people — our public schools will continue to be more like prisons than like places of learning and personal growth.

My grade: B-

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